What should appliance repair cost? Am I being taken for a ride?

What does appliance repair cost?Everyone has a sense for how much milk and eggs cost, and what their grocery list will run in the final tally. But when the appliances break down that preserve and cook that food, it’s anybody’s guess as to what appliance repair costs. The problem is most people don’t know what’s involved with the repair of their appliances, nor do they have the knowledge and experience to judge whether a price is fair or not.

So today, we’re going to pull back the curtain to help clarify all that you, the customer, are paying for when you schedule appliance service. We’ll also provide some easy tips to help you determine which service company is worth calling.

What goes into the cost of appliance repair?

Let’s walk through a typical service call at Hometown Hero Appliance Repair.

Pre-home visit:

  1. When an appliance breaks down, the first step is to schedule service, which requires communication and coordination between us and the homeowner. Our customer service reps (CSRs) are a vital part of the entire process, gathering information about the appliance and the issue, identifying a time that works for everyone, and communicating with the tech and homeowner throughout. But appliances don’t always break down at convenient times. We also manage an after-hours, 24/7 answering service, as well as a professional website with online scheduling, to ensure no customer is ever left un-helped.
  2. After one of our CSRs gathers information about the appliance and issue, they pass it onto the techs, who then perform pre-diagnosis and triage. Before ever leaving the shop, our techs have a sense of what may be wrong and what parts may be necessary to fix the issue.
  3. The techs will then pull the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts they think they’ll need from the shelves of our warehouse, to stock on their truck.

The home visit:

  1. Though we forget, service to the home is incredibly convenient. Although we do offer, at a lower cost, the option to lug your oven down to our repair shop, not many want to (understandably). We must map out our tech’s driving routes for the day; cover the cost of gas, vehicle maintenance, and the tech’s time; as well as maintain state-of-the-art, remote dispatch solutions. What seems the simplest part of the job—drive from point A to point B—is far from it.
  2. The tech then goes to work, but behind all that they do are years of training (including ongoing factory-run trainings), years of brand-specific experience, certifications and more. That skill and know-how allows for quick and accurate diagnoses, making long ordeals short and painless.
  3. And to help them put all that expertise to use, each truck carries thousands of dollars worth of tools, including hand tools, power tools, electrical meters, refrigeration torches, scales, gauges, etc.

Post-home visit:

  1. Our work isn’t done after the tech leaves though, as our CSRs always follow-up to ensure the repair was successful. And if the appliance was under warranty, we’ll also handle payment with the brand.

Tallied up:

On the average appliance repair call, you pay for:

  • The time of our CSRs and techs—before, during, and after the service.
  • The expertise, skills, and labor of our appliance repair techs.
  • Working relationships with major appliance brands.
  • The cost of warehousing parts so they’re readily on-hand.
  • Maintenance of vehicles and gas.
  • Remote dispatch solutions.
  • The cost of gear and tools.
  • And the convenience of after-hours and online scheduling, if used.

How do I find the right appliance repair service?

Up-front research:

  • Reviews: No one needs to be told to look at reviews. But what should you look for in reviews? While it’s good to see that they’re successful in fixing appliances, that’s the minimum requirement. More importantly: are they accommodating and respectful of your time? Are they fast and efficient throughout the process? Do they know more about the appliances than just how to fix it? Will they tell you what’s wrong and what they’ll do to fix it? These are indicators that they take their craft seriously and can be trusted. And if there should ever be a bad review, how did the company handle it? Did they try to reach out and help? Do they show they really care?
  • Authorizations: Who has the appliance manufacturer recommended or authorized to service their appliances? This is especially important if your appliance may be under warranty, as not every company is covered by warranty repair. Most manufacturers have a tool to find service, such as these by Samsung and Sub-Zero and Wolf.
  • Other: Have they won any service awards, like Angie’s Super Servicer award? What is their standing with BBB?

Interactions with company:

  • Call with CSR: Although we offer online and after-hours booking, we recommend booking a service call by phone during normal business hours. It not only allows for clear communication of your appliance issue directly with the office staff, it also allows you to preview the company culture and their prioritization of the customer. Without outright asking them, ask yourself “Does the CSR on the line empathize with my situation? Are they really listening to me?” If the people on the phone are great, the people in your home are most likely held to the same standard.
  • Tech In-home: If you’ve done your research before the tech has entered your home, make the decision to place your trust in the technician’s years of training and expertise.

Just remember: most technicians aren’t out to get you, but you may find yourself holding the bill from some well-intentioned misdiagnoses. Make sure to only call service providers you trust, and that have a proven track record of making things right if a misdiagnosis happens. Don’t automatically go with the cheapest provider – paying $100 labor to install the wrong part will cost more than paying $150 to install the right part, with lasting workmanship.